Man, 29, died after struggling in water during day off at beach with friends

A young man has been pictured for the first time after his body was found on a beach following a desperate five-hour search.

Tomas Yohannes was seen struggling in the water at Rossal Beach near Fleetwood, Lancashire, before being reported missing on Saturday (July 17).

The 29-year-old, who was originally from Eritrea in Africa but lived in Salford, Greater Manchester, was visiting the seaside town with colleagues he worked with at Amazon.

Temperatures across much of Britain had reached around 24C with beaches packed.

His pals raised the alarm at around 3.30pm shortly after he was seen entering the sea.

A search operation was then launched involving officers from Lancashire Police, the coastguard and a force helicopter.

Tomas’ body was recovered at around 8.15pm, with the constabulary confirming his death was not being treated as suspicious.

Tributes have flooded in for the popular family man, who had moved to the UK four years ago to help provide for his wife and siblings.

Brother Weldu Yohannes said Tomas was a “funny” and “well-respected” man.

Speaking from the house he and his brother shared in Broughton, Weldu said Tomas had “a lot of horrible things” happen to him on his journey to Britain.

But he said the pair finally felt settled and happy in Salford and Tomas was attending college to improve his English.

Tomas had reportedly been hoping to bring his wife and brothers and sisters over to the UK to join him, but plans had been halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Close friend Rezene said: “Not long before he passed away he said everything was okay and that he couldn’t wait to bring his wife and siblings over here.”

Tomas had been working shifts six days a week at Amazon, and was said to be looking forward to spending his only day off at the beach with his friends.

“He was a funny guy. He was very sociable and everyone really respected him,” said Weldu.

“Tomas was a really honest person and very family orientated.”

He added that the family wants to take his body back home so they can say goodbye – but needs to raise money to do so.

A spokesperson for Lancashire Police said: “Our thoughts remain with family and friends at this extremely distressing time.”